By — Shantala Palat
Pen and ink drawing is one of the most visually varied art practices in history. Over the centuries, ink has been used in many different types of art, be it calligraphy, tattooing or art sketches and formal drawings. In fine art, ‘pen and ink art’ is the technique of creating drawings with use of coloured ink dip pen or a reservoir pen.
Many of us may not know that ink drawing contributed immensely all throughout the human civilization. The earliest drawings are the cave paintings where they drew images of how to start a fire and hunting methods. The drawings gave us an idea about how man lived and has ignited the imagination of humans for generations. In modern times, the ink drawing is used for illustrations whether it is for advertisements, editorial cartoons or comics. Hence ink drawing has shaped our imagination, creativity and morals since our childhood through comics, storybooks and others.
Today India’s contemporary pen and ink artist Shantala Palat shares some interesting tips on this art form.
For ink drawing, you need a pen, nibs and ink. Artists generally prefer waterproof ink as when it gets dry, they can paint over it and the ink will not run or bleed.
However, while holding the pen, the artist must take care to make the marks gently with the nib or else rough or abrupt handling of the pen can cause the ink to fall on the paper and thus, ruining the artwork in the process. Also, a slight change in pressure will change the thickness of your lines. These are some pointers which you need to get used to at the outset.
Choosing the Pen
For sketches and drawing, different pens are used. Thick markers are used for large shadows as they are big and chunky and cover a lot of paper quickly. And sharper/pointed pens are used for smaller shadows and thick continuous lines. Consider all the characteristics of a pen such as how it will perform with respect to colour, thickness or whether you are able to handle that particular pen easily. Be attuned to any pen that can make the work distinct.
Holding the Pen
Remember that a simple change in the way how one holds the pen can add an extra dimension to the drawings and make them special and unique so that they stand out from other artists.
In ink art, putting the colour tones can become a challenge. One suggestion is to try rubbing a bit of water onto your fresh ink lines to create softer tones. In a pinch, softer tones alongside ink lines create a wonderful contrast and will make your drawings a little more lifelike.